Because I Left Domestic Violence Blessing #5,828: Shifting the Narrative
By April Tribe Giauque
Shifting the Narrative
Time. It is a simple word, and with the blessing of time, many things can happen: growth, mistakes, lessons learned, and change. With time and change, I have gained more perspective on various things—namely, healing and forgiveness and Shifting the Narrative.
Many of you know the personal story I wrote in Pinpoints of Light: Escaping the Abyss of Abuse of how I escaped an abusive marriage and changed my life. But that was only half of the story. The next half came in my second book, Out of Darkness; Find, Fuel, and Live in Your Light.
The second half was my healing story—the rest of the story, or should I say the beginning? In that book, I share childhood sexual abuse, which emphasized that I needed to produce something, be something, and earn love from someone to be loved. I spent the next 38 years figuring out that I was loved because I have life. I don’t have to prove anything!
I discovered seven significant steps (which I will share over the next seven weeks). One of them is forgiveness.
Forgiveness has its spectrum, and I can honestly say that I am experiencing all levels of forgiveness with time. One of them is not to play the victim or vilify my ex-husband. Yes, he did wrong, yes he suffered his pain from childhood sexual abuse, and yes, there are crimes to be paid for his actions.
But there is the blessing of time for him to change and find forgiveness and love. That is what we pray for. To be clear, it is not my job to help him on that journey; that is for Christ to do, but I can always pray that he will find that light and forgiveness.
Why am I bringing all of this up today, January 30, 2022? Because I desire to help shift the narrative about Domestic Violence. You see, the words we use can impact others. What do you think of when I say the word Victim? Do you automatically think of a villain? Do you think of a hero?
Look at what those three words invoke: someone trapped (victim), someone who can NEVER change (villain), and a third party that must come to the rescue (hero). How can the victim get out of the trap if that is the label they carry around? They are branded that way. This begs the question, “can the villain ever change?” No, of course not. There has to be a villain to make a great story. Then what about the hero? They are ever needed and carry the fame and pressure of always doing the right thing, but they are not perfect, and this is not a Hollywood Avenger story. So what do we do? We Shift the Narrative.
FACING TOUGH CHOICES
Sixteen years ago, I faced a CRAPPY choice: 1) Stay and watch him destroy me and my children or 2) get out, get physically safe. I choose the latter. To be clear, the judge told him the right to see the kids one time a week for supervised visitation; he never set up those appointments. Now I was not only faced with raising five children on my own, but I needed to help them deal with this sudden abandonment of the only father they knew. (Audrey shares a different ending to her story, and her children are better prepared for the future).
That decision still has ripple effects on my five older children. I pray that they will find peace in the pain that they still deal with. (I love you, Kellis, Garret, Isaac, Maggie-Sue, and Virginia. I left to save you, and I pray you will find that light and forgiveness in your heart so that you can feel joy).
SHIFTING THE NARRATIVE
My friend Audrey May Prosper (who was burned over 80% of her body by her ex-husband) created a National Domestic Violence Collaborative to help shift this narrative of victim and villain. Why? Because in the end, both parties need healing—both are worthy of healing. I invite you to listen to her Tedx Talk, Shifting the Narrative on Domestic Violence | Audrey May Prosper | TEDxManitouSprings to learn how this is possible.
Please, don’t misunderstand. Crimes that are committed need to be punished. Victims who were damaged, hurt or even killed need to have justice. But the overall narrative shift comes down to not labeling them as victims, villains, or heroes and leaving them there. But to find solutions and healing for all parties.
Ultimately, the PREVENTATIVE measures are best. Parents, raise your families in loving homes. Raise children to love and respect life and fight to protect it. Communities help us raise children in societies with high moral, social norms—to love one another. We are all together as communities, like it or not, so let’s be the community where we don’t blame and label but use love and work together for solutions.
Are you ready to Shift the Narrative? Are you prepared to help both parties find healing? Please join me and Audrey and thousands like us to help shine a light on a plague of darkness that is smothering our families and destroying the fabric of our country—please, choose Love and Light!
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE